[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”9345″ img_size=”800×500″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Hello, Citizens of GeekVibesNation and welcome to the return of your favorite Scarlet Speedster to televisions everywhere: Barry Allen/The Flash!
(Well, okay, maybe not televisions everywhere, I don’t know if they get the CW on the International Space Station, but you understand my point.)
So when we last left our intrepid band of metahumans and misfits, things where getting very interesting. They’d just stopped a murderous madman named Clifford DeVoe who viewed humanity as substantially less than worthy of the intelligence they were given in his evil plot to turn us all into apes. Defeating DeVoe and keeping everyone’s cognitive abilities at their fullest, Team Flash is now left to clean up the aftermath.
I will summarize the aftermath in a list for brevity:
- Caitlin Snow has lost her icy alter ego Killer Frost in an attempt to stop DeVoe’s OP (overpowered) final form.
- Caitlin also uncovered a memory of her childhood self actually becoming Killer Frost despite the fact that she “did not” get her powers until the particle accelerator explosion roughly six years ago. Also this has something to do with Thomas, but that was exceedingly vague.
- Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man was finally returned to his own body after it was coopted by DeVoe and almost used to destroy the world.
- Cisco Ramon/Vibe is still reeling from his breakup with fellow multiverse-powered meta Cynthia/Gipsy.
- Joe West and Cecile Horton became the proud parents of Jenna Marie West (granted, that’s much less bad than the other things).
- And, last but not least, the Flash demolished S.T.A.R. lab’s-turned-DeVoe’s evil satellite that began to plummet towards the heart of Central City.
Just kidding, that’s not the end of the list! This is:
- The Flash demolished the satellite with the help of Barry and Iris West-Allen’s daughter from the future, Nora. Who is also a Speedster. And is now trapped in this era.
Briefly fast forward to thirty years in the future: Nora West-Allen is Central City’s guardian-Speedster, known as XS. On an impulse that reminds one much of her father, she decided to travel back in time and help him save Central City, but is now trapped in 2018 with a highly flabbergasted Team Flash.
After running many tests, discovering that Cecile can still read minds, and sending Wally West/Kid Flash to the Legends – i.e., the Arrowverse’s resident time-travel oddballs – for more information, Team Flash concludes that Nora’s problem is not necessarily her speed, but some unknown factor they have yet to determine.
Meanwhile, Barry returns to work at the Central City Police Department (CCPD) as a Crime Scene Investigator, just in time for Nora to want to help him with his backlogged cases. She seems pretty keen on some daddy-daughter crimefighting but Barry resists because of time travel rules or some such nonsense.
I know it’s weird when your kids time travel rom the future, Barry, but spend some time with her. You got this.
Well, as much time as you can before the newest meta baddie on the block shows up: Gridlock/William Lang. Barry races after the villain, donning on an old suit because his latest one was destroyed when he defeated the satellite. He initially wins, but is defeated when Nora distracts him and Gridlock gets away.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs shortly after, Ralph – who has been thinking greatly on the effects of time travel and it’s ability to create parallel Earths – rediscovers the multiverse, renames it the manyverse, and then gets depressed when Team Flash informs him that it’s already been discovered.
While Team Flash finally puts together a way for Nora to get back, using the tachyon enhancer once worn by Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash to enhance his speed*. Utilizing another old Flash suit, the plan is to let Barry give some of his Speed Force to Nora and enable her to go fast enough to open up a breach to the Speed Force, thus enabling her to travel back to the future.
Wally arrives just in time – kidding, he’s about a three seconds too late – to inform Team Flash that this will fail because Nora has negative tachyons in her bloodstream, preventing her from time travelling. Also nobody knows where they come from or how to remove them, so she’s stuck in 2018 for the moment.
(For fans of multiple CW shows; the negative tachyons mean that Nora cannot get anywhere near the Legends’ timeship Waverider, unless she wants to blow it to smithereens; so no going home the easy way.)
Annnd Gridlock is back!
Ralph, Caitlin, and Cisco all discover that Gridlock’s powers allow him to absorb kinetic energy, thus making him stronger with each major punch or fall from a multistory building he takes. So that’s fun and presents a new challenge for Team Flash whenever they finally track Gridlock down once again (really missing Sally their metahuman tracking satellite).
Also, Ralph now discovers that Killer Frost kind of no longer exists, which nobody informed him of.
Back to S.T.A.R. Labs for a heartwarming moment; Iris finally figures out why Barry is in such a hurry to send Nora back to her own time and it’s not about the fact that she could really muck up her own past with all of this accidental foreshadowing. Basically it boils down to Barry pouting that he is living his daughter’s life out of order, meeting her as an adult without going through all of her “firsts”, such as walking, talking, etc.
As a Speedster, he should know that his life is never actually going to happen in order.
But then he confronts Nora about what is really going on, discovering the crux of the problem: he never lived through most of her firsts the first time because he vanishes – cue Eobard’s newspaper from the future about the Flash going missing in a crisis** – when she is only a few years old.
…and he’s still missing 25 years later, according to a new future newspaper presented by Nora.
This, then, is when he discovers that Nora actually could have gone back home if she had wanted, but she got a hold of some negative tachyons and used them on herself in order to stay and hang out with a dad she only knows through The Flash Museum (ah, yes, that has been referenced!). Then things are kind of awkward, just in time for a Gridlock-centric interruption.
Team Flash has finally tracked him down via his cell phone – which is super creepy-stalkery of them but that’s okay – and he’s on a plane, which they quickly realize is definitely going to come down if he has anything to do with it.
Team Flash decides to come at this from two different angles: 1. Phase the plane, which quickly loses both engines due to the tender care of the evil metahuman aboard, through Central City’s skyscrapers to a safe landing and 2. Use the brief moment of zero gravity caused by the plane’s fall to counteract Gridlock’s kinetic energy.
Just one Speedster isn’t enough to phase an entire plane however (it’s not like Barry did it for an entire train or anything) so he recruits Nora and Wally to help, even though Nora has never phased through a plane before. Their plan, however, goes off without a hitch with Barry channeling some old words of wisdom from Eobard Thawne to encourage Nora, and they land the plane safely and put Gridlock in custody.
Then, Team Flash discovers a way to send Nora back home, but Barry then decides that maybe screwing up the entire timeline is worth the risk in order to let Nora stay a little longer to hang out with her dad.
It’s an adorable sentiment, but this is not what I meant when I said he needs to spend time with her.
Either way, Wally decides to go back to the Legends, Barry decides not to tell Iris about the whole part where he vanishes from the face of the Earth for at least 25 years, and Ralph uncovers a secret about the Snow family.
As it turns out, Caitlin’s dad’s death certificate is fake, so he’s probably still alive and, if I had to guess, is probably the mysterious Thomas mentioned in last season.
And to top the whole episode off, Gridlock is killed on his way to Iron Heights by a blustery, mask-wearing, lightning-bolt-as-in-Flash-logo-lightning-bolt-wielding thug spouting nonsense about wanting a vaguely defined “everyone” to die.
Review & Theories
“Every day I hope to live up to the legacy of the Flash, but I’ve still got a long way to go.” – Nora/Excess
Travel to the past against the laws of Speedsters? Check. Get trapped in said past/alternate reality? Check. Having to recruit somehow different versions of Team Flash for help? Check. I have no idea why she thinks she has a long way to go to live up to the legacy of the Flash, she’s like, 90% there.
Overall, I would give this episode a 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts for a season premiere of The Flash. Most of the Flash premiere episodes have been in some way dark or dramatic, wrapping up a storyarc that is probably in some way troublesome; gigantic singularity threatening to destroy the whole world, Barry living in a fantasy alternate reality, and Barry being used as a human linchpin in the Speed Force to keep it from collapsing and tearing apart the very fabric of reality itself.
This season opener, however, was decidedly lighthearted while still being true to the Flash pattern of something going terribly wrong that was caused by a Speedster. Nora made an oops her father would be proud of and we have a nice setup for the next season, or few seasons, of the show: namely, how is Barry going to avoid or run straight into vanishing for 25+ years?
I am left a bit wondering about this new, lightning-bolt toting villain. He seems like he could be a bit anticlimactic, but I’m reserving my full judgement until I find out whether or not he is the big bad guy or just a toady.
Another thing I am going to reserve judgement on is the suit. I like the red. I like the classic feel of it. Not such liking the lack of a chin strap (a design, perhaps, with the Elseworlds crossover event in mind? We couldn’t very well have Arrow shave that iconic beard of his just to don the Flash suit!).
This episode also gets high marks is because it brings back another Speedster to the party. Don’t get me wrong, I love Team Flash, I love Caitlin/Killer, Cisco, and Ralph and all their various talents, but last season was a little light in the Speedster department and it showed.
In summary, I really enjoyed this season opener and I think it is going to be a great Season 5 for fans of The Flash.
Do you have any theories about Season 5 and the mysterious lightning-bolt-wielding ruffian? Feel free to comment below or visit GVN’s many social media pages!
*The tachyon enhancer was first introduced in Episode 109: “The Man in the Yellow Suit” where the Reverse Flash stole it from Mercury Labs.
**Introduced in the first season, this newspaper from the future has caused many a problem for Team Flash.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
GVN’s resident writer on The Flash and other CW TV shows and cat appreciator. Ang rhymes with ‘sang’!